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Nuclear free Japan – the end of an industry

 The end of nuclear, CLIMATE SPECTATOR, Matthew Wright, 8 May 2012 It happened at 5pm on Saturday the 5th of May: Tomari Reactor number 3, operated by Hokkaido electric, ceased production. This means that Japan is now nuclear free for the first time since 1966.

But life is going on. Japan now has 54 mothballed or destroyed nuclear reactors. Prior to the Fukushima disaster there were 47.5GWe of nuclear generation capacity, the equivalent of twice Australia’s entire baseload capacity.

….. Pro nuclear evangelists…. claim that countries like Japan have no option available besides nuclear. But Japan is now operating completely nuclear free. We heard claims that Japan would have widespread blackouts through last summer (they didn’t) and that this will occur this summer (they will not). Continue reading


May 10, 2012 Posted by | general | Leave a comment

Japan’s government to nationalise Tepco nuclear company, to save it from bankruptcy

Japan to nationalise nuclear plant operator By North Asia correspondent Mark Willacy May 10, 2012 Japan’s government will effectively nationalise TEPCO, the operator of the crippled Fukushima nuclear plant, as part of a $12 billion restructuring plan.

TEPCO is facing massive clean-up bills and compensation claims.  By injecting the funds into TEPCO to save it from bankruptcy, the Japanese government will also take a controlling stake in the operator of the Fukushima plant.

Announcing the plan, Japan’s industry minister, Yukio Edano, demanded that TEPCO rid itself of its secretive and complacent corporate culture.

The deal will also see TEPCO’s creditor banks extend fresh loans to the company and, effectively, the nationalisation one of the world’s largest utilities companies.

May 10, 2012 Posted by | Japan, politics | Leave a comment

India’s atomic energy chief says fears about nuclear radiation are “irrational”

Priority is to remove irrational fears about radiation: Ratan Kumar Sinha Interview with Chairman, Atomic Energy Commission Business Standard, Sanjay Jog / Mumbai May 10, 2012, Ratan Kumar Sinha, who was director of Bhabha Atomic Research Centre, took over as chairman of Atomic Energy Commission and secretary of Department of Atomic Energy (DAE) last week.

His appointment comes at a time when India’s nuclear sector is facing challenges. Sinha, in an interview with Sanjay Jog, speaks on a number of issues. Edited excerpts:
What are your priorities?

The first is to remove an irrational fear of radiation in the public mind….. We would educate the public and try to remove the unwarranted fear of radiation associated with nuclear plants.

May 10, 2012 Posted by | India, spinbuster | Leave a comment

Caution urged on medical radiation for children

Too much radiation from medical testing is a growing concern, especially for children, because it may increase the risk of cancer later in life.

While there’s no generally accepted safe lifetime radiation dose for children, Schulman tells parents to keep a list of their child’s medical scans – and pull it out every time a doctor considers ordering another one. That’s especially helpful for children with chronic diseases, who truly need more medical scans than the average youngster.

FDA urges a lower dose of radiation when child undergoes medical scan Boston Globe, By Lauran Neergaard |  ASSOCIATED PRESS     MAY 10, 2012 WASHINGTON – When your child’s doctor orders a CT scan, X-ray, or similar test, there are two big questions: Is the scan really needed? And if so, will it deliver a child-sized or adult-sized dose of radiation?

That was the message from the Food and Drug Administration on Wednesday as it took steps to help protect children from getting unneeded radiation from these increasingly common tests. Continue reading

May 10, 2012 Posted by | health, USA | Leave a comment

Recycling plutonium more dangerous and costly than burying it

Experts urge Britain to bury plutonium rather than recycling 10 May 12, WASHINGTON (Kyodo) — Four U.S. nuclear experts urged Britain to bury plutonium rather than recycling for fuel for nuclear reactors as it is more cost-effective, according to the British science journal Nature’s Thursday edition.

Citing an estimate in 2000 that recycling plutonium from spent fuel to make mixed oxide fuel adds $750 million each year to the cost of electric power generation in France, the four said, ”Britain should seriously evaluate the less costly and less risky method of direct
plutonium disposal, and take the opportunity to lead the world towards a better solution for reducing stockpiles.” Continue reading

May 10, 2012 Posted by | - plutonium, Reference, UK | 1 Comment

Offline nuclear reactors still dangerous, need constant cooling

News Navigator: What danger is still posed by offline nuclear reactors? Answers by Taku Nishikawa, Science & Environment News Department The Mainichi, 8 May 12, As of May 5, all nuclear reactors in Japan were offline. The Mainichi answers common questions readers may have about the safety and dangers of offline nuclear plants.

Question: With the reactors offline, has the danger of nuclear accidents disappeared?

Answer: The danger is likely less than while the reactors are running, but it still exists. Nuclear plants make power by turning turbines with the heat from the chained fission of Uranium-235 in nuclear fuel.
This chained fission is stopped in an offline reactor, but fuel rods continue to release “decay heat” as various unstable nuclei created during the reactors’ operation until now naturally break down. This decay heat has to continually be removed.

Q: What will happen if it is not removed? Continue reading

May 10, 2012 Posted by | Japan, Reference, safety, technology | Leave a comment

Brazil ditches nuclear reactor plans, in favour of renewable energy and gas

Brazil shelves plans to build new nuclear plants Google News 10 May (AFP) BRASILIA — Brazil said Wednesday it has shelved plans to build new nuclear power stations in the coming years in the wake of last year’s Fukushima disaster in Japan.

The previous government led by former president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva had planned to construct between four and eight new nuclear plants through 2030….. “The last plan, which runs through 2020, does not envisage any (new) nuclear power station because there is no need for it. Demand is met with hydro-electrical power and complementary energy sources such as wind, thermal and natural gas,” Energy ministry’s executive secretary, Marcio Zimmermann said in remarks released by the ministry Wednesday. “The 2021 plan, as far as I know, will not consider nuclear power stations either, ” he added, ….

May 10, 2012 Posted by | Brazil, business and costs | 1 Comment

Damaged South Korean nuclear reactor to shut down for 2 years

Uljin Nuclear Reactor Faces 2-Year Shutdown The Chosunilbo, 10 May 12Additional faults have been detected in the No. 4 reactor at the Uljin Nuclear Power Plant, which has been undergoing repairs, and a complete shutdown now seems inevitable……..

Korea Hydro and Nuclear Power Corporation has found that damage in the No. 4 reactor, where operations were halted due to defects in the machine that condensates steam from the turbine, is more serious than expected and tentatively decided to replace the steam generator.

Replacing it will take one or two years, so the reactor will not operate until at least next summer. It generates 1 million kW, or the capacity of two thermal power stations. …

May 10, 2012 Posted by | safety, South Korea | Leave a comment

Heartland Institute’s heartfelt attack on climate science

The chimerical construction of an ideologically-driven topsy-turvy reality by Heartland and its Australian equivalent, the IPA, is neither new nor surprising.

As the evidence for climate change continues to pile up, and as the frequency of severe weather events continues to sky-rocket, we can therefore be fairly certain that climate denial will take ever more scurrilous forms.

Are Heartland billboards the beginning of the end for climate denial? The Conversation, Stephan Lewandowsky 7 May 2012, The inversion of reality and morality has been a long-standing attribute of the climate “debate,” which reached a new watershed low a few days ago with the latest travesty from the Heartland Institute, a Chicago “think” tank.

Heartland posted on its website that “the people who still believe in man-made global warming are mostly on the radical fringe of society. This is why the most prominent advocates of global warming aren’t scientists. They are murderers, tyrants, and madmen.” Continue reading

May 10, 2012 Posted by | climate change, spinbuster, USA | Leave a comment

Edison company backs off about re-opening San Onofre nuclear plant

VIDEO  San Onofre nuclear plant backs away from reopening date L.A. Times, May 9, 2012  Southern California Edison backed off from comments made last week by one of its executives, who said the company hopes to have the San Onofre nuclear plant — shuttered due to equipment issues — back online and operating at a reduced capacity in

NRC Chairman Gregory Jaczko released a statement Monday, saying the agency has yet to receive a written statement from Edison to say the required steps have been taken to investigate and make a plan to fix the issues at the plant and “any discussion of a date for
the restart of Unit 2 or Unit 3 is clearly premature.”

The plant has been shuttered for more than three months because of problems with excessive wear in steam generator tubes. On Tuesday, Edison reported it has taken about 1,300 tubes out of service because of wear — 510 in Unit 2 and 807 in Unit 3 — representing a little more than 3% of the total number of tubes in the plant, and a higher number than the company had previously reported…….

May 10, 2012 Posted by | safety, USA | Leave a comment

American taxpayers to pay up big for nuclear weapons

McKeon Wants Taxpayers to Spend Millions on Nuclear Boondoggle and NATO’s Bombs   POGO Project on Government Oversight By MIA STEINLE, 7 May 12, With the House Armed Services Committee scheduled to mark up the FY 2013 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) this Wednesday, committee Chairman Buck McKeon (R-CA) has just released his markup of the bill. Alarmingly, McKeon’s NDAA markup includes an unjustified $100 million increase in funding to a proposed boondoggle of a nuclear weapons facility, the funding for which the House Appropriations Committee zeroed out last month. The Obama Administration had earlier requested that construction for the project be delayed by at least five years. ..

… Increased funding for CMRR-NF isn’t the only way McKeon’s NDAA mark-up gets it wrong. McKeon’s suggestion would increase the Administration’s request to modernize B61 nuclear bombs by $66 million, to a total of $435 million. Nearly 200 American B61s are stored at bases in five European countries as part of NATO’s defense. However, the cost to modernize these European-based B61s (in a process known as a life extension program, or LEP) would fall squarely on the shoulders of American taxpayers. McKeon’s suggested increase means that Americans would pay even more for these bombs on behalf of NATO…..

May 10, 2012 Posted by | USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

The risk of weakening safety standards at USA nuclear weapons facilities

Don’t let foxes guard our nuclear henhouse THE HILL,   By Katherine M. Fuchs, program director, Alliance for Nuclear Accountability   – 05/09/12  Today the House Armed Services Committee will debate the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), possibly overturning 25 years of safety standards at our nation’s weapons facilities. During this debate members of this committee will have a choice – they can protect communities around nuclear sites and the employees who work there or they can go on record as turning their back on those safety standards.

There are several sections of the NDAA that relate directly to nuclear safety and pose a threat to security. Perhaps the most troubling aspect of this bill is the fact that it would overturn the “adequate protection standard” that has guided nuclear safety oversight for over two decades. Continue reading

May 10, 2012 Posted by | safety, USA | Leave a comment

Escalating cost of USA’s and Russia’s nuclear bombs

New Report: US and Russian Non-Strategic Nuclear Weapons, May 09 B61 Nuclear Bomb Costs Escalating  FAS Strategic Sexcurity Blog,  The expected cost of the B61 Life-Extension Program has increased by 50 percent to $6 billion By Hans M. Kristensen The expected cost of the B61 Life-Extension Program (LEP) has increased by 50 percent to $6 billion dollars, according to U.S. government sources.

Only one year ago, the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) estimated in its Stockpile Stewardship and Management Program report to Congress that the cost of the program would be approximately $4 billion.

The escalating cost of the program – and concern that NNSA does not have an effective plan for managing it – has caused Congress to cap spending on the B61 LEP by 60 percent in 2012 and 100 percent in 2013. Continue reading

May 10, 2012 Posted by | USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Face up to global threats – climate change, nuclear power, nuclear weapons

Tough Talk From Environmental Activist Dr. Helen Caldicott    HUFFINGTON POST,   Marianne Schnall , 05/09/2012  Dr. Helen Caldicott has passionately devoted the last 40 years to educating the global community about the inherent risks and dangers of nuclear energy and weapons and the critical changes needed to restore and help save our embattled Earth. The Australian-born medical doctor (a pediatrician) and former Nobel Peace Prize nominee is the author of five books and the founder of several organizations including Physicians for Social Responsibility , Women’s Action for New Directions (WAND)  and The Helen Caldicott Foundation/ . I recently had the opportunity to talk to the world renowned activist and environmental prophet at Green America’s Green Festival  in New York City, where she delivered an urgent and electrifying speech. Dr. Caldicott, who has been outspoken about the health and environmental dangers of nuclear power since before the Three Mile Island and Chernobyl meltdowns, prays that we will take heed from the recent Fukushima nuclear disaster, which resulted in the Japanese government shutting down all 54 of Japan’s nuclear reactors, and spark a global trend to close nuclear power plants. Her frustration and anger at the lack of meaningful progress on this issue is palpable; as is her inspiring hope and belief in the collective power of individual citizens to raise their voices and create the political will to take action. What’s at stake, as she reminds us in this candid interview, is our moral and spiritual imperative to protect our children and our Mother Earth. As she bluntly puts it, ” The planet’s in the intensive care unit, critically, acutely ill, and now we are all physicians to a dying planet.” She urges, “Let the data sink in and then get off your couches to save the planet for your children.”

Marianne Schnall: What is the one message you are most hoping to get out there?

Helen Caldicott: There isn’t one message, there are three. One is that we are in dire danger from global warming …..  Number two: you close down your two Indian Point reactors, because if one of them blows, man – you’re all gone. Three: work with Obama to work with Russia to abolish 97% of the weapons on the planet, between Russia and America. You can do that. The Russians are ready. What’s holding it up is your generals, who are really pathological in the Pentagon and one of them said, ‘If you get rid of our nuclear weapons, man, that’s threatening the family jewels,’ and that says it all, in a nutshell, so to speak, and that’s a bad pun…….

May 10, 2012 Posted by | general | Leave a comment

Japan’s idle nuclear reactors still need huge electricity to keep them safe

The end of nuclear, CLIMATE SPECTATOR, Matthew Wright , 8 May 2012  “………When they get too old to operate safely or get shut early due to disaster they still need to be propped up on life support, to manage the site cleanup, to manage their waste and to cool that waste.

In fact right now, Japan’s 54 idled reactors are using the electricity equivalent to the output of three entire reactors, just to provide cooling and other critical services. These will need to go on being delivered to the sites for years even if the reactors are to be completely decommissioned.

That means that nuclear reactors are competing with hospitals, schools and factories for scarce electricity supplies. Due to inherent safety risks, the reactors get power ahead of everyone else in the country.  It doesn’t matter if you’re in an emergency ward needing urgent medical attention to save your life, the reactors’ safety comes first……

May 10, 2012 Posted by | Japan, safety | Leave a comment